If you discover a mistake on your tax return after you’ve already filed, don’t panic. In most cases, all you have to do is file an amended tax return. Here’s what you need to know:
Taxpayers should use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, to file an amended (corrected) tax return. An amended tax return should only be filed to correct errors or make changes to your original tax return. For example, you should amend your return if you need to change your filing status or correct your income, deductions, or credits.
Currently, an amended return cannot be e-filed. Taxpayers should be able to file Form 1040-X electronically soon, according to a recent IRS news release, but only for tax year 2019 (Forms 1040 and 1040-SR). In the meantime, you must file the corrected tax return on paper. If you need to file another schedule or form, don’t forget to attach it to the amended return. In general, taxpayers will still have the option to submit a paper version of the Form 1040-X and should follow the instructions for preparing and submitting the paper form.
Taxpayers filing Form 1040X in response to an IRS notice, should mail it to the address shown on the notice.
You normally do not need to file an amended return to correct math errors because the IRS automatically makes those changes for you. Also, do not file an amended return because you forgot to attach tax forms, such as W-2s or schedules. The IRS normally will mail you a request asking for those.
If you are amending more than one tax return, prepare a separate 1040X for each return and mail them to the IRS in separate envelopes. Note the tax year of the return you are amending at the top of Form 1040X. You will find the appropriate IRS address to mail your return to in the Form 1040X instructions.
If you are filing an amended tax return to claim an additional refund, wait until you have received your original tax refund before filing Form 1040X. Amended returns take up to 16 weeks to process (even longer lately due to the pandemic shutdown). You may cash your original refund check while waiting for the additional refund.
If you owe additional taxes file Form 1040X and pay the tax as soon as possible to minimize interest and penalties on unpaid taxes. You can use IRS Direct Pay to pay your tax directly from your checking or savings account.
To claim a refund, you generally must file Form 1040X within three years from the date you filed your original tax return or within two years of the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. For example, the last day for most people to file a 2017 claim for a refund is April 15, 2021. Special rules may apply to certain claims. Please call the office if you would like more information about this topic.
You can track the status of your amended tax return for the current year three weeks after you file. You can also check the status of amended returns for up to three prior years. To use the “Where’s My Amended Return” tool on the IRS website, just enter your taxpayer identification number (usually your Social Security number), date of birth, and zip code. If you have filed amended returns for more than one year, you can select each year individually to check the status of each.
Don’t hesitate to call if you need assistance filing an amended return or have any questions about Form 1040X.